August 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
It was a dark and stormy night. Channel 9 News told me and my folks that it would be a good dousing, just what we need in this land of 10,000 dried up lakes. While Mom and Dad stared at the ticker-tape scrolling across the bottom of the screen and worrying about their other two daughters (out driving to social outings in this weather; can you imagine?), I pulled on a pair of elastic-banded shorts from college and baked a ban of brownies. Baking always calms storms. Internal and external.
I’m still adjusting to life at home after a 9-month stint in France teaching English to high school French kids, sewing books from scraps of used posters, and (mostly) eating French food, drinking all the wine I could get my American paws on, and baking baking baking in my adorable E-Z Bake Oven. Baking in France became a cooling balm whenever I’d feel unsettled, insecure, and ungrounded (frequently). Now, arriving back in the US after having gotten so cozy there…baking is, again, a soothing thing.
So: one of the first things I find myself baking upon returning from the land of wine and cheese is a classic dish. Thick, dense fudge-y brownies. So moist they start to sweat in this summer humidity we’re experiencing right now. You have to consume them with a dairy product of some kind. Milk. Ice cream. Whipped cream. I don’t care. Just put out that chocolatey-amazing fire burning in your mouth.
If I back up for a moment: this is just the first classic baked item that I’m including in this bloggy-archive of my baked-goods-obsession. I, like so many borderline crazy foodies out there these days, like to photograph my food. For the really special stuff, I draw it. I really see food as art, especially bread-like goods of the dessert persuasion. This blog will be my tribute to baked goods, both my own creations and those of favorite bakeries in the Twin Cities (where I am based) and d’ailleurs.
Thanks for reading. Please enjoy this image of my fudge-a-licious, pudgy-faced brownie squares. My little army of squat chocolate footmen.
Voilà: Les Ingredients
6 oz. dark chocolate squares (coarsely chopped)…….1.5 sticks unsalted butter………2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder………..2 eggs………..1 c. white sugar…………2 tsp vanilla extract…………….1 c. all-purpose flour………dash of salt
(1) Preheat that ol’ oven to 350 degrees and swab the decks o’your 9×9″ baking pan with some sort of fatty substance to keep the bars from stickin’. Now fill a saucepan with water, stick ‘er on the stove and get that old girl into a furious boil. In another saucepan, drop your chunks o’chocolate and the lovely golden orbs of butter. Hold this over the boilin’ waters and stir with a wooden spoon till you’ve got a sauce that sloshes to and fro in sugary profusion.
(2)Find a big ol’ bowl. Beat eggy-wegs in that bowl. Now put a heaping cup of sugar in the bowl. Now mix it like you just don’t care. Next, fold in the melted chocolate (sloshing in sugary profusion, remember) and the vanilla. Tuck that in like a sleeping child. Sift flour over this napping child-of-a-chocolate-mixture and add a dash of salt. Stir just until mixed. The batter might whine for more attention, but don’t give in. Be firm. Pour it in the pan. All of it. Fight the urge to eat that batter with wooden spoon while watching “Freaks & Geeks.”
(3) Bake these babies about 40 minutes. Do the tried-and-true toothpick procedure. Comes out clean, you’re golden.